SOCIOLOGICAL VACUUM AND DEMOCRACY
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The main purpose of the article is to seek an answer to the fundamental question whether democracy can function properly in a society affected by a sociological vacuum. The author confronts the by-now classic proposition of Stefan Nowak with the achievements of the theory of democracy. He analyses the currently dominating models and perspectives from the point of view of the characteristics of societies, their structure, the individuals' ownership, and above all the distribution of identity. He devotes a separate discussion to the relation between sociological vacuum and democratization. Theoretical debate shows that sociological vacuum is neither a condition of the democratic system nor an obstacle to its existence. A successful, effectively operating democratic collectivity can exist in a society where group identities are weak or do not exist at all. It must, however, be admitted that in specific circumstances a lack of a vacuum may be acknowledged as a condition that favours democracy, since strong identities of intermediate level create a social capital that is the building material of civic society and democratic political culture. Nevertheless, the main conclusion of the article is the statement that the defects of the democratic system in Poland have other reasons than a sociological vacuum.
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